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Why can’t Voice and SMS be unlimited too?

We’ve been doing voice calls and sending SMS on our mobile phone for over a decade now. Recently, we’re also sending data over 3G as well. But unlike mobile internet that can be had for unlimited use, why can’t we also get the same with voice and SMS?

If you looked that their annual financial results, it’s easy to spot that voice and SMS brings a huge chunk of their profits so I don’t think they’d let it go easily.

However, we’ve seen these unlimited offerings in some “limited” way now:

  • Unlimited text to numbers on the same network for a daily flat fee with limited number of free text to other networks.
  • Unlimited free calls to any landline number within your area code for a flat monthly subscription.
  • Unlimited calls to all mobile numbers within your network and sister network for a fixed daily or monthly fee.

But why the limitations? Voice and SMS basically take up bandwidth similar to mobile internet. A single sent SMS should be around 140 bytes which is relatively very small. If we can get unlimited internet on our mobile phone for Php1,200 per month, why can’t we get the same rates for voice and SMS?

There’s only one technically I can think of that might be an answer to this — interconnection fees. Carriers pay a fix amount for every interconnections they make to other carriers. It’s like the toll fee we pay to go from EDSA to NLEX.

That’s the reason carriers can offer unlimited services within their network but not outside. Unless that interconnection fee gets dropped, I don’t think we’d see something truly unlimited. Well, unless everybody goes Skype.

Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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24 Responses

  1. CD says:

    interconnection fees can be the main reason, but im not sure whats the case here in the US.im currently on a vacation here and found out that receiving a call or text from another party will also deduct credits for my balance. 20cents for 1 sms received from any network. and i think its 20cents per min for calls..but they have unlimited plans too as well.

  2. abeolandres says:

    Why can’t Voice and SMS be unlimited too? http://www.yugatech.com/blog/telecoms/wh

  3. simplynice93 says:

    Calls and Text messages within their network is the telcos’ main source of income. Even if you activate your unlimited call, the duration of the call usually takes only 5 minutes. After that, the call is dropped and you need to call again which is very frustrating.

  4. Adrian says:

    @simplynice93: yes you are correct. unlimited disconnect :(

  5. Jovz says:

    The reason is because a lot of people will abuse the unlimited, cross-network service and it will cause network traffic be it voice or SMS. I’m ok with how its currently setup right now. Just my 2 cents.

  6. loadex says:

    Factors maybe:
    -Interconnection Fee..
    -Filipino Habit of Abusing a service when given for free (telebabad), and then magrereklamo pag hindi naka-connect.
    -Capacity in terms of live calls that can be served by a cellsite. May maximum channels lang ang available sa isang cellsite. Kung walang available channels.. ayun dropped calls na. (SMS is another story kase data lang siya)

  7. bokoi says:

    “A single sent SMS should be around 140 bytes which is relatively very small. If we can get unlimited internet on our mobile phone for Php1,200 per month, why can’t we get the same rates for voice and SMS?”

    You got a wrong conclusion for this one abe…
    SMS/Calls uses different “technology” than internet. Data uses separate channels. unless of course, VOIP…

    Maybe if all of us are hooked up in unlimited internet, we all could possibly do unlimited voice calls and sms/chat thru VOIP or 3rd party applications such as skype. to hell with interconnection fees as well. but unfortunately, not all of us are with unlimited internet.
    cell fone batteries wouldnt last a day if connected to the internet all the time…

    Maybe in the near future…

  8. bokoi says:

    SMS pass thru signaling channels…

  9. lolipown says:

    loadex has basically summed most of it up. Although the biggest reason still is PROFIT.

  10. Free Hosting says:

    One word, yuga – money.

    Companies will lose money if they go ‘unlimited’

  11. RJCA says:

    Globe’s superunli has a 3 hour cut off for calls, two better than Sun. :)

  12. frenchy says:

    I do hope these companies will not offer unlimited services for voice and sms for regular users. It will really cause network congestion just like what’s happening now with unlimited wireless broadband connections. It’s not advisable, IMO.

  13. IC DeaDPiPoL says:

    SMS per peso & P8.00 for calls works

    -It lets the telecom earn via per-use policy rather than having them provide a sizeable bulk for the subscribers use. AFAIK Japan’s telecom now has a problem since they now need to restrict bandwidth due to abuse (http://www.sankakucomplex.com/2009/07/12/porn-strangles-japanese-mobile-phone-networks/ )
    -Network congestion is avoided as abuse is restricted by the subscribers budget.

    The only qualms I have is the advertisment as despite having the option to unsubscribe, I still get a few of them (from Globe).

  14. Kinny says:

    This is why I carry all three networks on prepaid. Globe with Superduo and Stored Immortaltxt, Smart with 500 for unlimited calls for 30 days and Sun’s Text unlimited 150.

    I now only spend just under 1,600 compared to my former Php1,800 and above on one post paid line.

  15. vance says:

    we are just one of the luckiest country who has unlimited internet. In the US, nakacap na..

  16. But then people will abuse it like email.

    There will be SMS SPAM all over!

  17. Unlimited is nice, but cheap inter-network calls will always be welcome.

    That should greatly reduce this need to bring multiple phones/SIMs.

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